Sunday, May 5, 2013

Send a Message to Mars In the Form Of a Haiku

NASA's MAVEN mission will launch later this year. Earlier this year NASA hosted a student art contest through which students could have their work sent to Mars. Last week NASA opened a MAVEN Haiku contest. The contest will select three Haikus to send on the MAVEN mission.

Applications for Education
To enter the contest you have to be 18 or have a parent or teacher make the submission on your behalf. This could be a fun poetry-writing activity to combine with a lesson on space exploration.

Three Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Book

The end of the school year is quickly approaching. If your students have been blogging all year one way to show them, their parents, and others how much they've written is to turn the blog into a book. Here are a few methods for turning a blog into a book.

1. If you have a relatively small number of posts (25 or so) you could just copy and paste the text into a Word, Pages, or Google Drive document. Then you can export it as a PDF and or print it.

2. BlogBooker is a free service that allows you to turn your the contents of your Blogger blog into a PDF. Using BlogBooker is a fairly straight-forward process. BlogBooker walks you through each step of the process except for the very first step which might sound a little too "techy" for some Blogger users, but it's actually quite easy. The first step in using BlogBooker is to export the contents of your blog as an XML file. This is actually easy to do in Blogger. Step one is to open the "settings" menu of your Blogger blog. Step two is to select "export blog" under "basic" menu. Step three is to click "download." Don't worry, exporting the contents of your blog will not remove any content from your blog. After you've completed the export process, jump over to BlogBooker and follow their directions for completing the transition from XML file to PDF.

3. Anthologize is a free WordPress plug-in that allows you to take your posts and arrange them into an ebook. Anthologize features a drag and drop interface for arranging the layout of your ebook.  Anthologize will only work for self-hosted blogs not on blogs.

Some Seats Available In My New Course - Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a new webinar course that I'm offering. The first class meets tomorrow evening at 7pm EST. There are still some seats available.

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a three hour, two 90 minute parts, webinar series in which you will discover the many ways that blogs can be used in school and through which you will develop a strategy for using blogs in your school. Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders will also cover the nuts and bolts of how to create, develop, and maintain a blog on Blogger and on WordPress-based platforms like Kidblog and Edublogs. And because we’re talking about blogging in the context of schools, we’ll take a look at common questions about privacy and digital footprints.

The cost of this Practical Ed Tech course is $87 per person. Click here to register today.

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a three hour course divided into two 90 minute sessions. Enrollment in the course is limited to twenty-five people. The course does cost $87 per person. Downloadable recordings of each webinar will be available to all participants. Between each meeting participants will be able to participant in a discussion forum to ask questions and exchange ideas. Click here to register today. The course meets May 6 and May 13 at 7pm to 8:30pm EST.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New Tools Added to Wideo - Create Better Animated Videos

Wideo is a video creation tool that has impressed me since the first time that I tried it in February. Last month Wideo added a voiceover option. This week Wideo added two more options that I think you'll like. Now you can quickly rearrange the sequence of the scenes in your videos through a new drag and drop scene arrangement tool. And this week Wideo added finer controls for every object in each of the scenes in your videos. Watch the videos below for short demonstrations of these new tools.

Scene arrangement.

Object control.


Applications for Education
With Wideo you could have your students creating explanatory videos in the Common Craft style. The art of Common Craft videos is the way in which confusing topics are boiled down to a concise explanation. If your students can do the same with a topic in your class, they can prove that they know the material.

The Week in Review - Time to Swim

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Greenwood, Maine. The last few days have been gorgeous spring days. Yesterday, I took my boys (Max and Morrison) on a hike near the location of the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. They had a great time on the trails and Max enjoyed splashing in the pond at the top of the mountain. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you get some time to relax and enjoy doing your favorite things. We're about to head out for another hike, but first here's the list of the most popular posts of the week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Quick Round-up of New Google Drive Features
2. Three Good Ways to Use Socrative in Your Classroom
3. Three Good Ways to Use Padlet in Your School
4. A Nice Cheat Sheet for Gmail Shortcuts
5. New Webinar Course - Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders
6. Three Good Ways to Use TodaysMeet in Your Classroom
7. Ten Tools for Cropping, Resizing, and Enhancing Images Online

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
WidBook is a collaborative, multimedia publishing tool.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Fresno Pacific University offers online courses for teachers.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology. is hosting workshops in Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston this summer.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Join more than 56,000 others who subscribe via these links.
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.